Brian Moss
Brian Moss

More than 160 people learned in January about the model that’s been developed to theoretically allow one person to make a living off an acre and a half of Floyd County farmland. About 50 people are now two weeks into a six-week class exploring the plan in greater detail.

Lead by consultant Tony Kleese of Earthwise Company, LLC, the model was developed deliberately, with a committee of citizens and Floyd-based farmers examining and re-examining its assumptions about yields, spacing, wholesale prices and just about every other aspect of the model.

But there’s no substitute for testing a model like this on the ground.

That’s the focus this year of SustainFloyd’s working model farm. Starting in the 2013 growing season, we’re executing Earthwise’s Zone 6 “pocket-farm” model right here in Floyd County. We’ll be gathering data on all aspects of the farm’s management, production and markets with the goal of refining the model so that future “pocket farm” classes will have even better, more accurate information and lead to more successful farms in Floyd and the region.

The farm will be at a transitional site on Eanes Road this year while we search and hope for that perfect piece to come our way and house the larger and more diverse operation that we hope to include livestock and agri-forestry components. It’s a bigger vision that will take time to unfold. We’ll have our hands full this year implementing our own business plan and entering the world of small-scale agriculture.

Last month we put out the word we were hiring someone to run our working model farm and we’re happy to announce that we now have a farm manager: Brian Moss.

Brian grew up in Norfolk, Va., and graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., with a degree in Ecology/Environmental Biology. A horticulture internship after college pushed him towards the production of food over ornamental. He then landed in Scottsville, Va., where he apprenticed with the Local Food Hub’s Educational Farm for three years as an incubating farmer.

Brian is new to Floyd County and says he doesn’t know much about it just yet — “with the exception to hearing about its kind people and good music.”

“It is nice to see an organization like Sustain Floyd run by such a progressive minded group of people,” Brian says. “It’s very comforting for me to be joining such a group, and I am excited to help continue localizing our food systems.”

Please join us in welcoming Brian to Floyd County. He’ll arrive on Friday.

If you’d like to help, we’re trying to find Brian lodging in the Check area of Floyd County. He’s looking for a rental situation. If you can assist, please call us at 540/745-7333 or email our operations coordinator at mason [at] sustainfloyd.org.